(Publisher’s note: The economic effects of Covid 19 are being felt hard by businesses in Chelsea. Chelsea Update is talking to individual business owners in the area to see how they are coping. How can we help your business or non-profit? Please email [email protected] and let us help you tell your story. )
By Lisa Carolin
Jennifer Fairfield is the owner of Garden Mill, and she has been applying for every grant and loan she can to help small businesses. Spring is typically one of the busiest times for Garden Mill and in preparation, Fairfield had already received a large delivery of products.
“We sell all kinds of plants, seeds, gardening tools and supplies, as well as gifts and home décor for spring, Mother’s Day, and every day,” said Fairfield. “People look forward to getting out of their houses as winter wanes and getting things for spring, and we’ve always been there for them.”
That means Fairfield has bills coming due for all those spring items, and she’s asked vendors to work with her and extend the dates.
How can customers help?
“If people are able to, buy gift certificates or products from your favorite stores and restaurants, including us,” said Fairfield. “We all need the cash now to pay the rent, the utilities, and our vendors. For some of us, including me, we are still paying our employees – for as long as we can. So every little bit helps.”
Fairfield says she’s received a lot of support from customers.
“Most of those who have purchased items and/or gift certificates have said that they are doing so because they want to make sure we are able to reopen when it’s safe to, and they are looking forward to spending their gift certificates or buying more. I can’t tell you how much that means to me!”
It helps that Garden Mill, which is located at 110 S. Main St. in downtown Chelsea, and offers an online website with a variety of items customers can buy from the store at https://thegardenmill.com.
Seeds are a big seller.
Fairfield encourages people to write or call their congressmen and senators and tell them that they need to do more to help small, local businesses.
In the meantime, Fairfield is gardening, planting seedlings in her basement and weeding outdoors, all of which she says is very therapeutic. She says that being a gardener is the very definition of an optimist.
“Every year, I believe the weather will cooperate, and all my plants will produce like never before,” she said. “So, I have to believe I will make it through this as well. I am fortunate to have great people working for and with me – as anyone in my store knows – and we are all working together to keep the business going.”